CinemaCon: Disney’s Alan Horn Says ‘Million Dollar Arm’ Is Highest Testing Movie He’s Ever Had

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 5:16pm PDT
Pete Hammond

CinemaCon2014_badgeAlthough Disney devoted a good chunk of its CinemaCon presentation today to talk of Star Wars and The Avengers and clips of upcoming movies including first looks at the live-action re-telling of Cinderella and Pixar’s Inside Out, theater owners left the near three-hour session really singing the praises of one of the lesser-known films on the slate: the May 16 release Million Dollar Arm. It stars Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, who received the convention’s Excellence In Acting award from studio Chairman Alan Horn just before a full screening of the movie, which Horn told the crowd has scored higher than any movie he has ever tested Jon Hamm Alan Horn handshakeat Disney, or Warner Bros before that. “And that includes the first Harry Potter, which was so highly anticipated,” he said. Judging from the reaction in the Caesars Palace Colosseum theater and comments afterward, those test scores would seem to be justified. This is the kind of increasingly rare non-animated family film that should play across the board. “It’s comical, it’s emotional, it has great music” was what one exhibitor was heard saying as he walked out. That music, by the way, is from two-time Oscar winner A.R. Rahman, who scored Slumdog Millionaire.

Related: Hot Trailer: Jon Hamm In ‘Million Dollar Arm’

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Disney: ‘Star Wars’ To Start Shooting In May, Pick Up 30 Years After End Of ‘Return Of The Jedi’

By | Tuesday March 18, 2014 @ 11:53am PDT

star-wars-logo__130325012712-200x144Bob Iger said today during Disney’s annual shareholder meeting in Portland, OR that Star Wars Episode VII will begin principal photography in May in London, and the movie will pick up 30 years after the events in Return Read More »

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UPDATE: Bob Iger Talks Up ‘Frozen’, ‘Star Wars’ & New ‘Incredibles’ And ‘Cars’ Movies As Shareholders Re-Elect Board

iger 2mouse smallThe Disney CEO made his observations as he kicked off his company’s annual shareholder meeting in Portland, Ore. Frozen has already generated more than $1B globally and, with its successful open in Japan, should pass Toy Story 3‘s sales of $1.06B.  TS3 made $126.7M in Japan. The new film’s success has returned Disney’s animation studio to its “rightful place” as one of the world’s greatest, Bob Iger says. Pixar, meanwhile, will produce a third Cars movie and is developing a sequel to 2004′s The Incredibles, Iger also said, with confirmation coming via Disney/Pixar’s Facebook page that it is “currently working on two new films featuring your favorite characters from Incredibles and Cars.” Iger also crowed about the company’s market value of more than $143B, up from about $100B last year. Incredibles“I’d call that a great year,” he says. Iger told investors that he can’t share much about Star Wars VII, but said that principal photography will begin in May in London. In his opening comments the CEO also said that the Shanghai Disney park will feature a Pirates Of the Caribbean-themed attraction called Treasure Cove.

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Disney: ‘Star Wars’ To Start Shooting In May, Pick Up 30 Years After End Of ‘Jedi’

Shanghai Disney Pirates of the CaribbeanNo surprises on the business side: All of the board nominees, who were unopposed, were re-elected according to the preliminary returns. Former Starbucks CEO Orin Smith trailed the pack with support from holders owning 92% of the votes cast. Iger was favored by 99%. Some 80% supported an advisory resolution endorsing the company’s executive compensation. Just 24% supported a shareholder proposal that Disney opposed that would have barred accelerated vesting of executives’ equity awards if there’s a change in control. Read More »

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Is Latest ‘Star Wars’ Casting Rumor Actually True?

By | Wednesday February 26, 2014 @ 1:17pm PST

USA-'Look Back In Anger' Meet & GreetAfter pretty much every name in Hollywood has been mentioned in connection with the new Star Wars movie being directed by JJ Abrams, we’re hearing that Girls star Adam Driver is actually, really … Read More »

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Best Box Office Ever? Biggest Hollywood Franchises Explode In 2015 On Historic Collision Course

star-wars-logoIn 2011, Iron Man (I and II) director Jon Favreau called the summer of 2011, “a bloodbath for Hollywood” because of the number big-budget special effects films, remakes and sequels. Pfft! Wait until you get a load of next year. The amount of big-budget sequel fare and remakes set for 2015 from the major studios is mind-boggling and add to that highly anticipated films such as Fifty Shades Of Grey and another Quentin Tarantino film in the same year and you have all the makings for the biggest movie going year in history. The year is even going to start out hitting the ground running with audience-familiar titles, but it’s the summer and holiday season of 2015 that will be packed like no other — which brings up serious questions about what will happen as some of the biggest franchises in history collide? Remember, these films need major market exposure on over 2,500-3,000 screens or more to open big and some of them hope to play for weeks. This is going to be a star-studded war. I guess it was inevitable when studios ride out the franchises as far as they do now … what are we on Mission: Impossible 5 and Fast & Furious 7 now? And we have another Star Wars on our hands.

Related: Top 10 Domestic Box Office Grossers Of 2013 (Slideshow)

Mockingjay Book CoverThe year 2015 will go down in the books as the World Cup of franchise players: Superman vs. Batman vs. The Avengers vs. Mad Max vs. Fast & Furious vs. Jurassic Park vs. Terminator vs. Fantastic Four 3D, Marvel’s Ant-Man vs. Assassins vs. Untitled Bourne Identity, and then James Bond vs. Star Wars vs. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 vs. Mission Impossible for top film of the year.

In kid fare, parents should be ready to be pulled to the theater time and time again (sacrificing much-needed sleep) with Cinderella, Monster Trucks, The Penguins Of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda 3, The Jungle Book, Alvin And The Chipmunks 4, Peanuts, The Smurfs 3, Tomorrowland, and SpongeBob 2.

Practically every genre in 2015 is looking at proven titles: The year will start with the typical early year horror film fare — again no stopping franchise names — Amityville from Dimension and Frankenstein starring Daniel Radcliffe both in January, and Friday the 13th and Poltergeist. That will be followed by Fifty Shades Of Grey, based on the mega-selling book by EL James, which bows in February before the floodgates open again on sequels and remakes.

Related: Despicable Me 3′ Set For June 2017 Release

The plethora of franchise titles will likely push the 2015 box office to record-breaking heights as this year’s holdovers from the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday fare — such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (which bows on November 21), Fox’s Night At The Museum 3 and Sony’s Annie and Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: There And Back Again (or should it be called The Hobbit: Here It Comes Again) will also add to the huge overall gross numbers of 2015. Read More »

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UPDATE: R2-D2 Confirmed For New ‘Star Wars’ Movie

By | Tuesday November 19, 2013 @ 1:20pm PST

UPDATE, 1:20 PM: He wasn’t just hanging around posing after all. Disney confirmed today that R2-D2 will be in Star Wars: Episode VII. A staple of every Star Wars pic, the little droid “will indeed be in the film”, the company said online Tuesday. This is … Read More »

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‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Gets December 18, 2015 Release Date

By | Thursday November 7, 2013 @ 1:18pm PST

It’s going to be a happy Christmas two years from now for fans of a galaxy far far away away. The new J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars movie will open on December 18, 2015, Disney announced today … Read More »

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J.J. Abrams: Taking Over ‘Star Wars’ Writing Duties With Lawrence Kasdan A Matter Of Time

By | Thursday November 7, 2013 @ 10:03am PST

Related: ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Gets December 2015 Release Date

Changing the screenplay team on the new Star Wars movie was all about time, said JJ Abrams today. “It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with Larry in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be,” said the Episode VII director Thursday. “Working with Larry Kasdan, especially on a Star Wars movie is kind of unbeatable,” Abrams told Deadline. The upcoming Disney project is set to be released in 2015. On October 24, it was announced that Abrams would take over the writing of the script for the upcoming new Star Wars pic with Empire Strikes Back co-writer Lawrence Kasdan. Oscar winner and Hunger Games: Catching Fire scribe Michael Arndt had been on board as writing the script based on treatments he had drafted. The new Star Wars movie is set to start filming early next year in the UK. The Stars Wars: Episode VII director was participating in a media conference call Thursday with his fellow Almost Human EP J.H. Wyman on the upcoming Fox series. Read More »

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‘Attack The Block’s Joe Cornish Beaming Up For ‘Star Trek 3?’

By | Saturday November 2, 2013 @ 9:00am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: We know that Paramount and Skydance Productions lost JJ Abrams as the director of the third installment of Star Trek when Abrams took on Star Wars. I’m … Read More »

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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

Miss Deadline’s best film stories this week? Catch up here:

Heard It Here First: Tom Hardy To Play Elton John In ‘Rocketman’
By Mike Fleming Jr. - As Deadline reported in June when FilmDistrict paid $10 million to acquire U.S. rights to the Elton John film Rocketman, Tom Hardy has been set to play Captain Fantastic himself in the Michael Gracey-directed biographical musical film.

Oscar-Buzzed ’12 Years A Slave’ In Top Ten, ‘Jackass: Bad Grandpa’ Opens #1 For $32M, All-Star ‘The Counselor’ Bombs With $8M
By Nikki Finke - The most interesting news of the weekend, at least to me, is that New Regency’s financed and produced Best Picture Oscar frontrunner 12 Years A Slave marketed and distributed by Fox Searchlight is only playing in 123 theaters (up from 19 last weekend) yet jumped into the Top Ten.

J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan Take Over As ‘Star Wars’ Scribes
By Dominic Patten - The new Star Wars movie has a new screenwriting team. It was announced online today that Episode VII director J.J. Abrams and Empire Strikes Back co-writer Lawrence Kasdan will take over as scribes for the upcoming Disney project which is set to be released in 2015. Read More »

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J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan Take Over As ‘Star Wars’ Scribes

By | Thursday October 24, 2013 @ 12:21pm PDT

BREAKING…The new Star Wars movie has a new screenwriting team. It was announced online today that Episode VII director J.J. Abrams and Empire Strikes Back co-writer Lawrence Kasdan will take over as scribes for the upcoming Disney project which is set to be released in 2015. The duo are taking over from Michael Arndt. The writer, who penned the screenplay for Hunger Games: Catching Fire and won an Oscar for writing Little Miss Sunshine, was named as the sole screenwriter on the pic early last November. Arndt was also said to be working on treatments for the other two planned new Star Wars films.I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script,” states LucasFilm boss Kathleen Kennedy in a statement posted on Starwars.com Thursday. “There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a Star Wars story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen. J.J. of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place already prepping for production.”

Related: Are Lawrence Kasdan, Simon Kinberg Being Courted To Script ‘Star Wars’ Pics 2 & 3?
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Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Star Wars’ No. 1 Film Soundtrack Among Britons, Poll Finds; Gillian Anderson Set For ‘Streetcar’ At Young Vic

By | Friday September 27, 2013 @ 10:00pm PDT

BBC Radio 3 Poll: ‘Star Wars’ Still A Force Among Soundtracks
A poll of BBC Radio 3 listeners has concluded that John WilliamsStar Wars soundtrack is the all-time No. 1 among Britons. Williams’ 1977 score received almost 25% of votes on a list that spans 64 years of … Read More »

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R.I.P. ‘Star Wars’ DP Gilbert Taylor

By | Friday August 23, 2013 @ 12:42pm PDT

Gilber Taylor Star Wars DiesGilbert Taylor, whose vast cinematography credits included the first Star Wars for George Lucas, Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove and Richard Donner’s The Omen, died today in his native UK. He was 99. Taylor’s list of film DP credits are striking in their diversity: He lensed the Beatles pic A Hard Day’s Night, Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy and worked several times with Roman Polanski on films including Repulsion, Cul-de-Sac and Macbeth. The BBC quoted Taylor’s wife that the DP “turned down a Bond picture” to work with Polanski “because he thought Roman was a very interesting guy”. Polanski returned the complement, saying in his 1984 biography Roman that he wanted Taylor for 1965′s Repulsion after seeing his past work: “As I saw it, the only person who could do justice to our black-and-white picture was Gil Taylor, whose photography on Dr. Strangelove had deeply impressed me. I also saw his wonderful work on A Hard Day’s Night; Richard Lester, the director, was mixing it at Twickenham Studios, where Repulsion was to be made. [Our executive producer, Michael] Klinger protested that Gil Taylor was one of the most expensive cameramen in the business, but I held out for Taylor and I got him.” Taylor earned BAFTA nominations for Repulsion (1965) and Cul-De-Sac (1966), and he won the American Cinematographers Society’s ASC International Achievement award in 2006. But he was best known for Lucas’ 1977 watershed sci-fi film Star Wars. From the ASC magazine in a 2006 interview:

Consumed by the details of the complicated production, “George avoided all meetings and contact with me from day one, so I read the extra-long script many times and made my own decisions as to how I would shoot the picture,” says Taylor. “I took it upon myself to experiment with photographing the lightsabers and other things onstage before we moved on to our two weeks of location work in Tunisia.”

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D23: Alan Horn Jeered For Keeping Mum On ‘Star Wars’, ‘Maleficent’s Angelina Jolie Makes Surprise Appearance, Marvel Teases ‘Avengers 2′

By | Saturday August 10, 2013 @ 12:31pm PDT

Anthony D’Alessandro contributes to Deadline’s D23 coverage.

Disney’s live action panel today at D23 started off with Alan Horn being heckled by disappointed Star Wars fans and pretty much turned into a clipfest afterwards. Only a surprise appearance by Maleficent  star Angelina Jolie at the Anaheim event raised the temperature anywhere near Friday’s news filled Animation panel. The newest jewel in Disney’s crown, Star Wars was dealt with by the studio boss with a list of old announcements of approximate release dates, JJ Abrams being on board and spinoff films. “I really wish I could tell you more. It will come soon,” Horn told the crowd as a big “awww” and boos emanated from around the convention center from fans expecting a bone to be thrown their way today.

Related: D23: Disney Announces New Animated Movies and Big Voice Castings, Offers Details On ‘Finding Nemo’ & ‘Planes’ Sequels

That was in sharp contrast to Jolie’s sudden walk-on later in the two-hour panel. Then it was cheers not jeers. “Since I was a little girl, I was drawn to her. But I was also terrified by her, but she had this elegance and grace,” said Jolie about playing in the upcoming backstory to the Sleeping Beauty character. “When I heard Disney was making the film, my brother encouraged me to take the role.” Jolie’s appearance in front of the audience of 7,500, came after Walt Disney live action production head Sean Bailey spoke about casting her for Maleficent. “You can pencil out a list of all the amazing actresses in the world and for us this list only had one name for the role, Angelina Jolie,” exclaimed Bailey over as sketches from the film played on the big screen. After Jolie’s brief turn on stage, Bailey showed the audience exclusive footage from Maleficent. In the clip, Jolie’s British-accented wicked Queen appeared amidst CGI fairies and green steam rising to curse the baby Sleeping Beauty. “Without a doubt, Maleficent will be a powerful movie experience when it comes to theaters next summer,” Bailey told the crowd. Maleficent is set to be release on July 2, 2014.

Related: Comic-Con: Marvel Announces ‘Avengers 2’ Villain & Title: ‘Age Of Ultron’
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John Williams Confirmed For ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ As Disney Heads To Germany With ‘Star Wars’

By | Saturday July 27, 2013 @ 9:26am PDT

Disney brass thinks Star Wars is so important they went to Germany of all places this weekend for Star Wars Celebration, the global Star Wars fan convention that began in 1999 to celebrate the release … Read More »

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Comic-Con: ‘Phineas And Ferb’ Gets ‘Star Wars’-ed In Latest Disney Synergy Play

By | Friday July 19, 2013 @ 3:15pm PDT

Last month Disney said its Marvel characters will cross over to Disney Channel’s most popular animated series for an episode set to air next month in which the titular stepbrothers team with Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor … Read More »

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‘Star Wars’ Set To Make Disney Debut At D23 Expo

By | Tuesday July 9, 2013 @ 3:02pm PDT

Disney‘s conspicuously keeping Star Wars out of its Comic-Con slate, but the studio will welcome the newest member of the corporate family to the fold at its own annual D23 Read More »

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Nerdist’s Course Of The Force 2013 Sets Geek-Friendly Hosts, Launches With Seth Green ‘Star Wars’ Vid

By | Tuesday June 11, 2013 @ 10:00am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Nerdist Industries and Octagon have announced the hosts and correspondents of this year’s Course Of The Force Olympic-style Lightsaber relay race leading into 2013′s San Diego Comic-Con. VH1′s Carrie Keagan, Ahsoka Tano (Clone Wars), Ashley Eckstein and Nerdist Industries founder Chris Hardwick have been tapped for the 2nd annual Lucasfilm-backed event raising money for the Make-A-Wish foundation, along with fellow geek-friendy TV and online personalities Jessica Chobot, Alison Haislip, Alex Albrecht and What’s Trending‘s Shira Lazar. The Star Wars-themed race winds down the California coast from Skywalker Ranch in Marin County on July 9 to LA and San Diego, where it ends July 16 ahead of Comic-Con’s preview night. Read More »

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Produced By Conference: JJ Abrams Says ‘Star Wars’ Starts Production In Early 2014

“I think that the thing is so big and so massive to so many people that the key to moving forward is honoring but not revering what went before,” said JJ Abrams today about the challenges of directing the new Star Wars movie. Abrams also revealed that production on Star Wars Episode VII is set to start right at the beginning of 2014. “Most likely we are going to be moving to London at the end of the year for the Star Wars movie,” said the Star Trek Into Darkness director Saturday at the Produced By conference on the Fox lot. Abrams added that the overseas shoot “drives me insane” as he would have liked to film the movie in LA. He also noted that the plan to shoot Star Wars Episode VII for Disney in the UK was set before he was brought on board. The director joked that getting the offer to helm the new Star Wars was the only thing that would have caused him to postpone a long set family vacation.
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